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With the All-Star break, many of us don’t know how to kill the time at work this week. Hopefully, this week’s StU can help break some of your boredom and help you procrastinate some more.

Michael Bowden | SP | Boston Red Sox | DOB: 9/9/1986 | 6-3 | 215 lbs |Bats/Throws: Right | BOS #2 ranked prospect according to Baseball America
The Cube: Control (92) | K-rating (90) | Efficiency (98)

Many of you have patiently waited to read about this BoSox fan favorite. Matter of fact, there is so much hype surrounding Bowden that you would swear he was the second coming of Greg Maddux, or maybe even Jesus. It’s easy to blame the east coast bias for the aura that surrounds their prospects and sports teams, and well, that’s exactly what kind of blame this hype deserves.

His fastball sits between 89 and 93 mph with good movement that will top out at 95. His fastball is surprisingly effective because of his “deceptive” arm angle according to Baseball America writers. He also possesses a hard 12-6 curve, and a circle change that is hard for lefties to hit. Scouts rave about the curve, but have mentioned that at times he lets it loop more like a Zito curve. The top thing that the scouts lavish over is his impeccable control. Personally, how they talk reminds me of Brad Radke, a former Minnesota Twin who was known for his ability to eat innings and rarely walk a batter. The trouble with his style of pitching though is he’s a fly ball pitcher, and his stuff isn’t overpowering/dominating. A fly ball pitcher in the AL East, especially now with the shorter Yankee right field porch, smells like trouble. He is starting to look more like a mediocre pitcher than a top of the line pitcher like the hype indicates.

The only other knock on him is his quirky delivery, but I tend to think these quirks add to the character of the pitcher (a la – Lincecum, Roy Halladay even has a quirky delivery). Unless it places tons of strain on the elbow, which it doesn’t, and he throws lots of hard breaking pitches, I think he should be fine. Will he be a top of the rotation pitcher? I doubt it. Do I think he is a good pitcher? Sure.

Is this bashing necessary? Well, I will let you determine that:

’06 (A, A+) 9.7 K/9 | 2.6 BB/9 | .7 HR/9 | 1112 2/3 IP | 3.75 ERA | 1.17 Whip | .377 BABIP
’07 (A+,AA) 8.1 K/9| 2.6 BB/9 | .6 HR/9 | 142 2/3 IP | 3.34 ERA | 1.27 WHIP | .292 BABIP
’08 (AA,AAA) 8.1 K/9 | 1.8 BB/9 | .6 HR/9 | 144 1/3 IP | 2.62 ERA | .98 WHIP| .295 BABIP
’09 (AAA) 6.1 K/9 | 3 BB/9 | 1.1 HR/9 | 77 IP | 3.39 ERA | 1.18 WHIP | .253 BABIP
**Stats as of July 5th

Those really aren’t eye popping numbers, except for possibly last year. However, those are essentially his numbers from AA, as he only pitched 40 innings in AAA in ’08. This year’s stats show more of the real pitcher he is, except for maybe his diminished control. The overall numbers are helped by a pitcher friendly BABIP. The reduced K/9, increase in HR/9 and BB/9 raise a red flag, or at least a flag that warrant more reserved predictions of his talent at the major league levels.

He should round out to be a better than average pitcher, but no higher than a number three starter or an above average back end of the rotation pitcher. If he was called up today, I would only want him because he pitches for a winning ball club, AKA- vulturing some wins. Other than that, I don’t want to touch him with Pesky’s (foul) pole.

Jason Heyward | OF | Atlanta Braves | DOB: 8/9/1989 | 6-4 | 220 lbs | Bats/Throws: Left | ATL #2 ranked prospect according to Baseball America
The Cube: Power (71) | Speed (62) | Contact (61) | Patience (54)

Hidden behind a talented farm system down in Atlanta, Heyward has quietly produced stellar numbers since his rookie year at A ball. Having drawn comparisons to Willie McCovey and Dave Parker, this young outfielder has all five tools that scouts drool over. He’s athletic in that large frame, actually knows how to play defense (a plus because that might help him raise through the minors faster), and has the patience of a hitter much older than him. If you want to compare his Cube numbers to professional MLB players think of James Loney, Mark Grace, and Conor Jackson (but as it has already been established, this isn’t the most accurate way to compare a player as it just compiles his numbers and rates them against his peers at the same level he is at). However, Jason should prove to be more than those players.

The Braves drafted him 14th in the 2007 draft, and some teams might have been better off drafting him instead (however, it was the ’07 draft that had Price taken number 1 followed by Moustakas (#1 ranked in KC’s system), Josh Vitters (#1 CHC), Wieters (#1 BAL), Ross Detwiler (#2 WAS), Matthew LaPorta (#2 CLE), Mad Bum (#1 SF) , Jarrod Parker (#1 ARI), Phillip Aumont (#1 SEA) – though not in order, but those are some nice names. However, Pittsburgh took Daniel Moskos (#19) – and no, that is not a typo) ahead of Wieters and cost their GM his job). Needless to say, that was nice top of the draft for many years, and we’ll have to wait to see how they all pan out. This is not to say Heyward is a lock to be an all-star for years to come, but he does have tremendous amounts of talent and potential to be a 20 to 25 homer right fielder who hits for good average, gets on base, drives in his fair share of runs, and steals an occasional base. Here are his numbers and slash lines as of July 5th,

’08 (A, A+) .316/.381/.473 (.854 OPS) in 471 AB (11 HR/56 RBI/6 SB)
@A – 9.8 B%/16.5K%/.160 ISO/.368 BABIP in 449AB
@A+ – 8.3/18.2/.091/.222 in 22AB
’09 (A+, AA) .302/.379/.531 (.910 OPS) in 192 AB (10/32/1 – 12 2B)
@A+ – 10 B%/15.9 K%/ .222 ISO/ .309 BABIP 189 AB
(Side note that I just realized, in Double-A he hasn’t K’d yet as of July 11th, in 26 Abs)

Those are pretty decent numbers actually. He hasn’t hit the number of homers some other prospects have, but he hits for average and gap power as of now which should translate into more homers in the future as he shortens his swing and fills out his body. One knock that some scouts have is that he is too patient of a hitter and often times doesn’t hit or swing at the best pitch for him to drive. I am not sure how I feel about this, but really, this should be a good thing. Some hitters don’t know how not to swing. * cough * K-Davis * cough * This should be something that he and his hitting coaches should be able to change. He has the work ethic for this to probably happen, and a positive note about a highly tout prospect – he is quite humble. Something I think we all can appreciate.

Don’t expect to see him this year until September, if at all. Next spring the Braves should probably give him an extended look, but he probably will start the year in AA or possibly AAA. He will need a bit more seasoning next year, but a May/June 2010 call up could be on the way.

19 Responses

  1. Jo says:
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    Do you think Joe Mauer will keep his current power surge going? I’m considering a Billingsley for Mauer trade in a 2 catcher league. Should I take this?

  2. Jo says:
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    BTW, I love these scouting the unknown articles… it keeps me up to date around the league on teams minor league situations. Good work

  3. Stephen says:
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    @Jo: Mauer’s power has not been there since his massive May. He had 11 homers in May, 3 in June, and so far only 1 in July. Unless you are trading Mauer away, I wouldn’t accept this trade if you are expecting tons of power from Mauer.

    @Jo: You’re welcome. Any players you are interested in hearing about?

  4. @Stephen: Matt Laporta

    It just ticks me off that my tribe brings him up, barely gives him any PT, then sends him back down and lets smucks play that shouldn’t even be in the bigs…

    I am sure it has something to do with money and contracts, but i haven’t heard much about him on the farm team.

  5. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    @Tony Y: you think that’s frustrating, what about the angels and brandon wood?? maybe, just maybe he gets PT and sticks this time. or he might get 15 ABs and be back in SLC by august 1.

    if the giants stay in the race, what are the chances we see bumgardner and/or alderson get the call for the stretch run?

  6. Jo says:
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    Thanks, I’m interested in a few guys: Carlos Carrasco, the Phillies Pitcher (you may have done him and I forgot about it. I also like Carlos Santana, the Catcher for the Indians…. Another option is Jake Arrieta, the pitcher for the Orioles.

  7. Stephen says:
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    @Tony Y: Yeah, but everyone knows about Matt LaPorta – The Tribe have no reason to call him up yet if they are trying to save money. If they want him to play in the majors this year and don’t care about when he starts arbitration, then he should be up.

    @ThePoonTycoon: The Angels love veterans and have their young position players – Woods, Willits, Rodriguez, even took a while on Kendry Morales. Either way, BLAH, to any Angels farm hand.

    I could see them calling one or the either up and have a role like David Price did last year – in relief. Bumgarnder pitched 141 innings last year and is up to (81 if I remember correctly), while Alderson’s high is 145 last year and is up to 85 this year. I would imagine them to be talked about, but only pushed a couple dozen innings over their highs from last year. Really what the Giants need is another bat that can bolster that awful lineup!

    @Jo: I just recently (last week actually) wrote about Carlos Carrasco. I was thinking about Carlos Santana eventually this year. I will give Jake Arrieta a look too.

  8. Jo says:
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    on the giants: I’d be just as happy to see them get another huge arm, like Halladay… A big bat to protect Sandoval would be nice, but taking someone like halladay away from the Dodgers and Phillies could help us just as much in the playoff race and ultimately world series.

  9. Tom says:
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    I’ve really enjoyed these. Thanks Stephen.

  10. Billy says:
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    trade advice

    i trade hanley for Reyes and Victorino

  11. Stephen says:
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    @Billy: I’d hold Hanley, but I don’t trust Reyes returning to his previous form.

  12. Billy says:
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    @Stephen: thanks for the quick advice just wanted to run it past someone…

  13. Stephen says:
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    @Billy: No problem. Glad to be of service.

  14. inertiatic says:
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    Stephen- Really enjoy these write ups. Great work.

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on the top A’s prospects some time in the future. Guys like Aaron Cunningham, Adrian Cardenas, Jemile Weeks or Chris Carter. Carter seems like an especially intriguing young prospect. They say he’s got some good pop. Whatddya think?

  15. SamYo says:
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    Great work as always Stephen. Better prospect, Wieters last year or Buster Posey this year ?

  16. Stephen says:
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    @SamYo: I don’t know if that is a fair question (or one that I could give full justice too). I am going to say Posey by the hair on a prepubescent boy’s chin. However, he may not be the #1 rated prospect in the land.

  17. Stephen says:
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    @inertiatic: No problem-o. I will get to work on one with the A’s. I seem to just skip right over Billy Beane’s jackpot of a farm system over in Oakland… I should be more observant and diligent without providing my own bias (however, I have only talked about one Twins player so far).

  18. Quintero says:
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    @Stephen: You are deadly spot on about the fly-ball tendency of Bowden and the AL East.
    Unlike David Huff’s 42.9FB% in Major, and 50+ GB% in AA and AAA, Bowden’s year-to-year number did prove him a fly-ball pitcher, and there is no way he suddenly become a ground-ball pitcher like Huff suddenly became a fly-ball pitcher…

  19. kevin says:
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    chris carter is going to be awesome

Comments are closed.